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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Charlston matures as player, person

This week's women's basketball notebook focuses on Idaho junior Alyssa Charlston, the Vandals' leading scorer who has never regretted her decision to play in Moscow. Read story

Idaho's Charlston is a versatile player who can play guard or post. She doesn't rely on the power game, but she gets many scoring opportunities through her ability to drive.

Vandals coach Jon Newlee has looked for the right combinations with his young team, Charlston said.

"In any program, it's always a struggle to see which players are going to mesh," she said. "But coach says it's not always who starts (that's important)."

Charlston played against Vandals freshman post Ali Forde when Forde was at Woodinville.

One of Charlston's highlights this season was her last-second layup to defeat Eastern Washington 68-66. The rugged game came down to Ballestero stealing the ball from EWU scoring leader Lexie Nelson and passing to Karr, who hit Charlston for the winner.

"I sprinted as hard as I could," said Charlston, who added that she had the utmost respect for Nelson. "Krissy gave me a perfect pass."

Charlston fondly recalls her times as a little kid, roaming around KREM-TV and meeting weatherman Tom Sherry.

As for North Idaho, the new NJCAA poll comes out on Wednesday and the Cardinals should still be No. 1. The Cardinals received seven of eight first-place votes last week.

Carlson said it's natural to compare this team to the group that won the national title two seasons ago.

"We have a lot of good weapons," he said. "I think we're pretty darned close (to 2010-11)."

Carlson has adjusted the starting lineup slightly this season, but Stirton, Emerson and sophomore guard Angela Woods have been constants.

The Cardinals' defense has been sturdy with good speed and physical post players, Carlson said.

The SWAC is always a rugged conference, especially with road games, and Carlson expects Southern Idaho and Snow to provide challenges along with Salt Lake, which is ranked 20th in the national poll.

Chris Derrick
Chris Derrick joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. He currently is a copy editor for the Sports Desk.

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